Spark, the Russian Revolution Centenary Committee’s festival of revolutionary film, takes place at two of London’s most renowned independent cinemas: the Phoenix and the Rio. The festival takes its name from the Russian revolutionary newspaper Iskra (Spark). It features classics of early Soviet cinema by Vsevolod Pudovkin, Sergei Eisenstein, Dziga Vertov and Esfir Shub. Warren Beatty’s Reds will also be shown as a unique and daring Hollywood film about the Revolution, released at the height of the Cold War.
The festival will open on 24 September with Pudovkin’s classic – the film Mother. Based on Maxim Gorky’s 1906 novel, Pudovkin’s drama is set against the backdrop of the 1905 Russian Revolution. The film portrays the political awakening of a mother whose son is imprisoned for leading a strike at a local factory. After unwittingly betraying her son to the police, she takes up his cause and joins the workers demonstrating against the Tsarist authorities. Pudovkin, who began his career as an actor, and his wife Anna Zemtsova make cameo appearances.